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Defra reminds councils to use new powers to combat litter

Local authorities have been reminded of the new powers available to them under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said it was keen to see fixed penalty notices being used.

Fixed penalties should be part of a local fly-tipping strategy, designed to address all aspects of waste crime and including awareness and education as well as enforcement, said Defra.

However, it warned that such notices should only be issued where there was adequate evidence to support a prosecution, if a notice had not been paid. It also said that unpaid notices must be followed up, as failure to pursue unpaid notices through the courts discredited the use of fixed penalties and led to declining rates of payment.

Defra has received a number of requests from local authorities to make improvements to legislation to help deal with litter thrown from vehicles, and to consider if registered owners could be held responsible for any such litter thrown. But after closer examination of the issue, it is not satisfied that any amendments can be made without undermining the function of the fixed penalty notice as quick and effective.

It is currently looking at further extending powers for councils to help deal with smoking-related litter outside all offices and eating and drinking establishments, and said it would be conducting a public consultation on proposed changes.

More detailed advice and guidance on the use of fixed penalty notices is also currently being developed and there is now a list of corrections made to guidance published earlier this year.

For further information see:

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